327. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson and Secretary of State Rusk1


  • Conversation with Pakistan Minister of Finance Shoaib

The following points arose in my discussion with Shoaib this afternoon.

U.S. Installations. After Secretary Rusk raised this question2 he sent an immediate urgent message to President Ayub, expressing his personal shock at the fact these installations were not yet open. He hopes for a reply before he leaves on Friday.
Ganges-Brahmaputra-Teesta Project. He has talked with Mehta as well as the IBRD about this. The World Bank is prepared to take the initiative. Woods may now be looking in England for a third man to work with the Paks and Indians. It could form an item on the agenda of the next Ministerial meeting between the Paks and Indians.
Military Expenditures. These will take time to reduce. What is needed now is an agreed level for Pak military expenditures in relation to the Indian program (which is fixed by agreement between the U.S. and U.K.). We talked of the possibilities of introducing a political and psychological environment in both countries which would permit their leaders to get away with reduced military budgets. One method would be agreement between the Pak and Indian military to thin out the forces on the Pakistan-Indian frontier and substitute for them paramilitary and border guard units. Shoaib says Pakistan has such forces. He does not believe the Indians now have them. In any case a discussion on this question might form an item for the next Ministerial meeting.
Next Ministerial Meeting. The Indians would have to agree, without in any way changing their public position on Kashmir, to let the Pakistani talk about Kashmir as an item on the agenda. It would be understood that at some agreed moment—perhaps after one morning on the subject—they would proceed to the other two items. They might be: military arrangements; the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Teesta joint project.
China. I raised with Shoaib the political difficulties we face with the Chinese equipment and the visits. I said that the problem was real and political even though the President had known in advance from President Ayub about them. He asked what, at the present stage, Pakistan should do about China. I said: “Nothing. Keep your relations with China as quiet and inactive as possible.” I went on then to explain the depth of the problem of what appeared to be close China-Pakistan ties at a time when the Chinese Communists were actively encouraging Hanoi to continue a war in which our men were being killed every day. It was not impossible for us to understand Pak policy and the reasons for it. But the Pak Government must be conscious that every pro-China move they make throws a heavy political burden on our relations.

A Story. In great confidence Shoaib said he would tell me of a recent incident in the Pak Cabinet. Ayub said: “I want it understood that never again will we risk 100 million Pakistani for 5 million Kashmiri—never again.”

I said that in equal confidence I would tell him that one of the reasons we were so anxious to end the war between India and Pakistan was we feared a military set-back for the Paks which might destroy the morale of the nation and Ayub. He said: “It was close—very close.”

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Pakistan, Vol. VI, Memos, 1/66–9/66. Secret.
  2. Shoaib met with Rusk on April 26. A report of that conversation was transmitted to Karachi in telegram 1536, April 26. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 PAK)